The Age of Resistance comic series recently finished, and I’m catching up on some of the past issues. That includes the issue about General Hux, and one of the most interesting aspects of this comics to me is that it shows how neither Hux nor Kylo Ren can escape the past – namely, their families.
Let’s take a look at what story the comic told us, and then I’ll explain more what I mean by that statement.
The comic begins with a flashback to Armitage Hux’s childhood, where he is belittled and abused by his father and an officer (later revealed to be Admiral Brooks). He accidentally spills a drink, is mocked, and is forced to lick it up to clean it. His father commands a crying Hux to get up, and that’s how we transition back to the present day – only this time, it’s Kylo Ren telling an unconscious Hux to get up.
Hux awakes to find their shuttle on fire, as the hyperdrive shut down and the engines are failing, sending them plummeting to a planet’s surface. They crash land, and Kylo Ren saves Hux’s life, as they are the only two survivors of the wreckage. Hux asks whether Kylo saved him, to which Ren responds, “Not intentionally. I saved myself. You were just nearby.” The communications are out, which causes Hux to realize to Ren, “Which means I have no choice but to talk to you instead of literally anyone else.”
The two quickly suspect that their ship’s destruction was sabotage, leading to Ren accusing Hux’s men, and therefore Hux’s leadership of them. Hux fires back at Ren, and he says, “Vader wore his mask because he couldn’t breathe without it. But you… you just play dress-up to hide the face of your rebel scum parents–“. Ren ignites his lightsaber and threatens to kill Hux, as no one would know, but Hux says Snoke would know. Ren turns off his blade and expresses confusion over why Snoke keeps Hux around, saying he doesn’t understand it. “Of course you don’t”, Hux responds.
But they then find some meat lying around, realizing it’s bait. A large creature, a Norwood, then bursts through the trees, charging at them. Ren ignites his lightsaber and orders Hux to stay behind him, but the First Order general has already taken off running in the other direction. Ren uses the Force to take care of the creature, but another one suddenly appears and knocks Kylo out. A man, Bylsma, then appears and orders Hux to emerge from the trees. Hux recognizes the man as an Alderaanian palace guard, and the man says there is nothing left to guard. The Empire took everything away from him, so he ran all the way to the edge of the galaxy and has been here ever since.
Hux tells Bylsma that the war is over and the Empire has fallen, and he points to Kylo Ren as proof. “This man… he is a son of Alderaan. His mother is Leia Organa. … His parents won the war.” Hux explains that there are still some remnants from the war left, but that they are working to bring peace to the galaxy. Bylsma recognizes the resemblance in Kylo, saying he know Kylo’s grandfather and mother – “she was an incredible woman.” He asks if Kylo is like his mother, and Hux responds, “He is. He’d deny it. But he’s very much like her.”
They move to Bylsma’s shuttle, and Hux tells him that it’s finally time to send a communication and enjoy the freedom that has been won. Kylo awakes suddenly and is surprised by Hux calling him “Ben”, but plays along as Hux explains who Bylsma is. A First Order transport soon arrives, but when they do Captain Phasma and the stormtroopers open fire on the Norwoods. Hux leaves Bylsma behind without any communications, saying they will use the planet as a test for Starkiller Base.
When they return, Ren and Hux talk with Snoke. Hux has determined who sabotaged them, and Snoke grants him permission to deal with the traitor personally. As Hux leaves, Ren tells Snoke that he doesn’t see Hux’s worth, and Snoke says, “You do not need to.” The Supreme Leader then tells Ren how a man like Hux actually is useful, and as he says so we see Hux approach Admiral Brooks. Hux has already killed the person responsible for the sabotage, but now he turns to Brooks – the traitor’s supervisor. Brooks resorts to belittling Hux once more, saying his father thought little of him. Hux knows this – and explains it’s one of the reasons he had him killed. As Hux kills Brooks, he explains that he is underestimated and viewed as weak, but rather he is patient. He will outlast them all and won’t just destroy people but have the power to destroy worlds.
As I think about this issue, I couldn’t help but see how both Armitage Hux and Ben Solo can’t truly escape their family lineage.
For Hux, that means the trauma of his abusive, hateful, belittling father. Brendol Hux was an officer in the Galactic Empire who was an instrumental part in building the First Order – but he never appreciated his son, and that subjected Armitage to a very rough childhood. This has been explored in other material as well, but this issue paints a tragic and heartbreaking picture in the first couple of pages of the abuse Hux suffered. And it is clear that he has never truly gotten past that – and that included killing his father and Admiral Brooks, people who had wronged and hurt him. Snoke, in explaining Hux’s usefulness in this comic, says:
“Men like Hux are useful. Men consumed with ambition, fueled by spite. Men who can set aside their pride. Who have shame burning inside them. Pups who are abused often grow to be vicious creatures. But they never forget where they came from. And they never forgive.”
Snoke recognizes that Hux has not forgotten his past and has never moved on from it and forgiven people for it. Hux can’t – and hasn’t – moved on from the hurt caused to him by his father and others, which led him to shame but also to ambition for power. This burns inside him and drives him forward – and the implication I get is that Hux wants the power so that he can be over all those who have wronged him. He very clearly wants to take Snoke’s place.
Even more interestingly (to me, at least), we also see how Ben Solo can’t really escape his family either. Though Hux is the focus of this comic, we get a lot of Kylo Ren too (which means that in the comics about both Hux and Snoke, Kylo is a major figure). He has some great lines (I love his line about not intending to save Hux), some heroic moments (he fights back against the Norwood), and serves as a way to get a better look into Hux’s purpose and psyche (as he is the one who prompts Snoke to explain Hux’s usefulness). But while Kylo Ren is unconscious and Hux tells Bylsma about Ben Solo’s past, Bylsma says he can see the resemblance. Ben Solo bears the resemblance of his parents, who Hux correctly says won the war.
There are two things related to this point that I want to mention. (1) The first is that Hux says Ben is like his mother, even though he wouldn’t want to admit it. It’s possible that this is just Hux lying, since he’s either lying or deceiving in basically the whole conversation with Bylsma. But I actually wonder if Hux means this statement – he obviously would despise Leia Organa, and he despises Kylo Ren as well. Maybe part of the reason he despises Ben is because he does see too much of his parents in him. (2) And secondly, Hux tells Kylo that he doesn’t wear the mask like Vader did but wears the mask to hide the resemblance to his family. I imagine there is some truth to this. In the Snoke issue, the Supreme Leader tells Kylo he can’t hide and therefore doesn’t need the mask – clearly implying that Ren uses the mask to hide. What is he hiding from? In both this issue and the Snoke issue, it seems that Kylo Ren is hiding from the lightness still in him – and his family.
So for both of these villains, we see that they can’t actually escape the family. For Hux, this meant the trauma of his tragic upbringing and hateful father. For Solo, this meant the connection with heroes of the light. As Lor San Tekka tells Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens, “you cannot deny the truth that is your family.” He truly was so right.